Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! For today's installment our feature, we have a set of romance-themed interview questions, but we thought it would be even more awesome if we had some outside help in answering them and lending another perspective. We are super excited to announce a very special guest! *drumroll* Everyone please welcome the fabulous Alexa from Alexa Loves Books!
First romance you read & when you read it?Alexa: I believe it was The Secret by Julie Garwood.
Racquel: It was either A) The Little Red Skirt by Kimberley Reeves, a free story that I read online B) a Harlequin blaze and I'm dying to remember the name of it or C) Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas Those were the first romances I read but I can't remember what came first. I was 13.
Sharon: Welllll, that really depends. If we're going ALL the way back, I honestly haven't the faintest idea. In my pre-teen and early teen years, I read dozens and dozens of 1980s Harlequin Presents books. I really couldn't tell you the one that started it all. If we skip those, I read my very first grown-up historical romance at the age of 14 in a hospital waiting room from the outdated stash of books they provided. To this day, I have no idea of the title or author (though I wish I did). If we fast forward, I started keeping a list of every book I read in July 2007, so no more problems. The first full-length, "real" genre romance I read was Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James! I read it in July 2009.
Book that got you hooked on romance (if different from above)?A: It was that book I mentioned in the answer for number one. I was attracted to the cover initially, and then I ended up super loving the idea of ladies and lords and tons of romance.
R: the honor goes to Kimberley Reeves's books. I read ALL of them (Okay. Except 1). Multiple times!
S: I blame those Harlequins. Mainly the ones written by the fantabulous Penny Jordan, who was my absolute favorite. From then on, I always enjoyed books with a heavy romantic element, even when I was in my phase where I mostly read Rory Gilmore-esque books.
Ideal Valentine's date with your favorite book hero?A: My favorite hero is Sebastian (Viscount St. Vincent in Devil in Winter), and I think our ideal date for Valentines would probably be pretty casual - we'd play pool :)
R: I wanted to surprise y'all and feature a guy that's not Hardy Cates (Sugar Daddy & Blue-Eyed Devil) but screw it, Hardy Cates it is! What would we do? Horseback riding. Hardy is a born cowboy rascal. (By the away, Alexa's answer is perfection and anyone who read the book would agree ;D)
S: I was going to try to go with someone else since Alexa and Racquel BOTH listed a Lisa Kleypas hero...but oh, well. Kleypas heroes for the win! I choose Kev Merripen from Seduce Me at Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas. What would we do? Yeah, pretty sure I don't care. That man could take me on a tour of a fertilizer plant, and I'd go with him.
Favorite beta hero?A: Honestly, this is HARD because most of the heroes I adore are... well, they're a bit on the bad side.
R: What is the beta hero you speak ok? Haha They're uncommon! But Piney from The Lovesick Cure by Pamela Morsi. He stole the show!
S: No question! Sir Harry Valentine from What Happens in London by Julia Quinn. Looooove him. And bonus, he has best name ever for today's interview!
Favorite trope or plot device?A: I think it's always the Cinderella stories that appeal to me - where the girl/guy is in dire circumstances that leave them impoverished or oppressed and their eventual romance leads to a change in their circumstances.
R: My name is Racquel and I love arranged marriages. It is fiction after all and I might as well enjoy it!
S: I-really-want/love-you-even-though-I-don't-want-to-and-I'm-fighting-it-SUPER-hard. Because it leads to the inevitable caving, which is the best EVER. (Close runners up are Older Brother's Best Friend & Friends to Lovers. Which, coincidentally, often go along with the aforementioned dynamic.)
Favorite romance subgenre?A: Historicals. Definitely.
R: I echo Alexa and Sharon. Historicals it is! They're just fun and an escapee from reality.
S: Historicals. I do love a good contemporary, but overall, I love the historical subgenre more.
THIS OR THAT
Sweet or sexy romance?A: Sweet, even though sexy romances can be a lot of fun.
R: Definitely sweet. That way, the sexual tension is not relied upon to convince me of their love. I want to see friendship. I want to believe it. The fact that they have the best sex together does not convince me they're soul mates!
Friends-to-lovers or hate-to-love?A: Friends-to-lovers
R:absolutely 100% no doubt hate-to-love. That's why I love arranged marriages. They usually are hate-to-love.
S: Friends-to-lovers. I almost always find the "hate" in hate-to-love stories completely contrived. When well done, though? YES, PLEASE.
Instalove or slow burn?A: Slow burn, yes please.
R: S L O W B U R N. Slow burn actually give me butterflies when the hero and heroine finally kiss. My heart has been known to miss a beat or two while reading a slow burn romance.
S: SLOW BURN. The slower, the better. Seriously. If you've got great build-up, I will happily read 300+ pages before the first kiss.
Wallflowers or headstrong misses?A: Both, because it really depends on the day.
R: wallflowers who are secret headstrong misses! Evie from Devil in Winter is the PERFECT example.
S: Either! I've read great stories with both. (I like how none of us actually picked one, LOL.)
Alpha or Beta heroes?A: Alphas forever and always.
R: Alphas. Another fiction thing because in real life, it's either I'm the alpha or forever alone.
S: I do have a soft spot for Betas, mostly because they're so out of the ordinary. But I have to say Alphas. ♥
Old flames or just met?A: Old flames
R: Just met but I do love an old flames story when it's well done.
S: Just met.
Witty banter or Strong, Silent, and Smoldering?A: Silent, strong, smoldering
R: TACITURN HEROES FOR THE WIN! Give me Triple S with a slice of Tall and Dark and Handsome please (-: By the way, I love strong, silent, and smoldering heroes, I do. I felt the need to repeat it.
S: Witty banter! Although I do have a weakness for the Triple S, as well.
Of course, our giveaway of the most beautiful edition ever. Remember, US only. Sorry!
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Did you miss a day in the Week of Romance?
Day 1: Romantic Quotes
Day 2: Song Pairings
Day 3: Favorite Romances
Day 4: Tropes Ahoy!
What about you? What are your choices for the THIS or THAT questions? What was your first romance, and did it hook you on the genre?